This past summer, Swedish camera manufacturer Ikonoskop announced that it would be temporarily halting production of its super16 RAW digital cinema camera, the A-Cam DII. Despite the fact that filmmakers around the world praised the A-Cam DII for its simplistic functionality and stellar image quality, the company stopped production due to a "strained financial situation" that was likely caused by high manufacturing costs and stagnant sales. However, Ikonoskop announced yesterday that the company is under new ownership and that they're in the process of renewing their ecosystem. What could this mean for fans of the A-Cam DII? Read on for the details:
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what this odd little camera can do, here are some of the best examples of the delightful images that it can produce.
First, here's Eddy Cardellach's reel of gorgeous Ikonoskop footage:
And here's Jonathan Yi's short montage, Coney Island (which features some astounding color rendition, and some seriously sensual ice cream eating - maybe NSFW?)
Clearly the Ikonoskop A-Cam DII has some major potential in terms of its digital rendition of the super16 aesthetic. However, with a price tag that hovered around $10,000 for a fully functional package (at least that was the price 4 months ago), the camera wasn't selling enough to justify the production costs. With Blackmagic taking the world by storm with their lineup of absurdly inexpensive cinema cameras, the other companies competing on the low-end of the cinema camera market were left in the dust.
With that said, Ikonoskop confirmed on their site today that the company is indeed under new ownership, and that they are working to rejuvenate their production and support ecosystem. Here's the message that was posted on the Ikonoskop site early today:
Currently, we are in the process of renewing and improving the Ikonoskop ecosystem to better support our fellow community of A-Cam dII owners, users, and professional filmmakers.
And here's what one of the new owners of Ikonoskop, Joachim Vansteelant, said in a message to existing customers:
In July, Ikonoskop filed for bankruptcy. Two A-Cam dII owners, Pete Teo and I, felt that it was important to find a way to continue supporting filmmakers with the only camera that facilitates creativity through simplicity and quality. So, along with an additional investor, we bought the Ikonoskop estate.
Currently, we are in the process of restarting the Ikonoskop ecosystem. Our focus during this time is on supporting you -- our community of fellow A-Cam dII users. With this in mind, the first thing we've brought online is camera maintenance. If you happen to have a camera or an accessory that needs repair, simply contact us and we will work out the details with you.
Although it's excellent that Ikonoskop has made a priority of bringing support back to their existing customers, who were left in the dark when the company filed for bankruptcy this summer, it will be interesting to see where the company goes in future.
It seems like Ikonoskop is certainly working on a new business plan in order to make their product more competitive in the growing low-end digital cinema market. In order to do that however, the company is going to have to price the A-Cam DII well below where it was previously priced. This could very well mean that more of the manufacturing will have to be outsourced.
With all of that said, Ikonoskop is going to have some serious competition, no matter where they price the A-Cam DII. With Blackmagic cameras finding their way into the hands of just about everybody (with the exception of the 4k,) and with the Digital Bolex's release looming in the not-too-distant future, it seems clear that Ikonoskop will have to take some bold steps to keep their fantastic product relevant in a super-competitive market.
Here's one more Ikonoskop reel from Joachim Vansteelant, just in case any further justification was needed for why the A-Cam DII is (and should remain) a valuable tool in the modern age:
What do you guys think? Are you surprised that Ikonoskop is back from the grave? What would it take for Ikonoskop to compete with Blackmagic and Digital Bolex? Let us know in the comments!